Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


What the minority movement stands for, 1924

by Communist Party of Great Britain

image from Red Clydeside collection

Launched in 1924, the Minority Movement was a group inspired by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) that argued for a united front within the unions as an effective way of resisting attacks on working-class living standards. The Minority Movement attempted to build a rank-and-file movement based around sympathetic trade union members, and to forge alliances with left-wing union leaders. The CPGB was partially succesful in affiliating some trade union branches and trades councils to the Minority Movement as well as a number of left-wing trade union leaders.

The launching of the Minority Movement represented a shift in the CPGB's electoral thinking. By 1924 it had conceded that it would not be allowed to affiliate to the Labour Party and so it sought to gain the support of British workers by organising and strengthening through the trade unions.

By the time of its second annual conference in 1925, the Minority Movement had registered substantial growth, with 683 delegates representing over 750,000 workers, in contrast to the figure for 1924 which was 200,000 workers. From 1924 until the General Strike of 1926 the Minority Movement's influence spread throughout the trade union movement, and the TUC began to become increasingly influenced by the initiatives of the Minority Movement. This was brought to an abrupt halt by the trade unions defeat in the General Strike of 1926.

Source: Bissett Collection, Glasgow University Special Collections